This past weekend, I was very perturbed by the cold weather. Not only was I caught completely off guard, but I had to dig out my down jacket from under my bed yet I still spent the entire Saturday freezing. Though it appears fall has held off another week, we all need to prepare for the fact that soon enough, snow will fall. To prepare for the inevitable, I present a recipe that will heat up your home and spice up your life.
Coconut red curry with fried tofu
Again, this week’s dish is influenced by cuisine from the vast continent of Asia. If you’re not familiar with using curry paste, it’s basically a mixture of spices, herbs, peppers and root vegetables that you add to dishes to improve flavor. For a college student, curry paste is great because you can buy it in the store and all you need to do is add vegetables, protein and a sauce base.
The curry paste I used claims its “Thai” and “authentic,” but I doubt anything found in a jar on an American grocery shelf can truly be described as either of those things. Nevertheless, I really like the taste of this curry paste. It contains ground red chilis, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, salt, shallot, spices and lime.
Ingredients (2 people, 45-minute prep)
- 1 cup — uncooked rice
- 2 cups — water
- 1 handful — Sliced carrots
- 1 handful — Snap peas
- 1 — Red onion, julienned
- 7 oz. — Extra firm tofu
- 7 oz. — Coconut milk (not water)
- 1 tbsp. — Red curry paste (see picture below)
- 1/3 cup — Canola oil (for frying tofu)
- 2 tsp. — Salt
- 2 tsp. — Ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. — Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Directions: Frying the tofu
Note: do not attempt this if you are not confident with your cooking abilities, as hot oil is dangerous and can catch fire if handled improperly. If the pan starts to smoke, take it off the heat, allow it to cool and abandon the frying portion of this recipe.
- Drain your tofu and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
- In a saucepan (equipped with a lid) add the 1/3 cup of canola oil and allow it to heat up on medium to high heat (~three minutes).
- Test to make sure the oil is hot by flicking water onto the pan. If it sizzles violently, you’re good.
- Add the tofu, cover the pan (to prevent oil from splattering) and fry initially for one-two minutes, or until the sides begin to brown.
- Stir the tofu on each side, repeating the cover-and-stir process until the sides are sufficiently brown and the tofu is firm on the outside.
- When the tofu is fried, wait for oil to cool, then drain into an empty bottle (do not pour it down the drain) and set the fried tofu aside for later use.
Directions: Rice and curry paste
- In a small pot, add the uncooked rice, water and 1 tsp. of both salt and pepper.
- Heat on medium until the water begins to boil, then allow it to simmer until the rice is cooked (~ 20 minutes).
- While the rice is cooking, make the curry by sautéing the onion and carrots until the onions are translucent.
- Add the curry paste and continue sautéing for one-two minutes.
- Finally, add the coconut milk, snap peas and tofu (fried or not).
- Simmer until the rice is done cooking.
- Add extra salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate the dish by pouring the curry over the rice, and garnish with chopped cilantro.
As always, hit me up with questions, comments or concerns,